Hyundai says it's committing to equip all of its 2022 model year and later cars with a rear occupant alert system. The system will be standard equipment on every Hyundai vehicle sold in the U.S. You may recall that Nissan made a similar commitment a little while back, giving us the same timetable as Hyundai with 2022 model year cars.
As of today, Hyundai makes the system standard equipment only on the 2020 Santa Fe and Palisade. It's a simple alert notification. The car detects if a rear door was opened or closed before the car was started, then it'll remind the driver to "check the rear seat" with a message in the center cluster as you're leaving the vehicle. That's the system that will be in place by 2022 on every Hyundai.
There is a more advanced rear-seat alert the Korean company offers, as well. They call it Ultrasonic rear occupant alert, and this is able to detect movement from children or animals in the rear seat. It uses motion sensors, and if it detects movement back there after the driver leaves the vehicle, the car will honk its horn and send an alert to your smartphone via Hyundai's Blue Link app. This system is optional on the Santa Fe and Palisade now, and will be optional on the 2020 Sonata, as well.
We'll note that GM started this trend years ago and makes its rear seat reminder system standard in a ton of vehicles. The U.S. Congress has even recently considered making such a system a requirement for all cars. Unfortunately, stories of children and pets being left in hot cars are still all too common these days. A quick reminder to check the rear seat won't fix everything, but it's a step in the right direction.